Self-guided walking tour near Philomath explores cemetery’s history


By Rick Cooper

The Mt. Union Cemetery in Corvallis, Oregon, is the site of Oregon Sea Grant's latest Quest, or clue-directed hunt. The Quest was created by Ginny Weeber of Bend and her granddaughter Kyah Weeber of Philomath, in partnership with Oregon Coast Quests and the Mt. Union Cemetery Association.

The Mt. Union Cemetery in Corvallis, Oregon, is the site of Oregon Sea Grant’s latest Quest, or clue-directed hunt. The Quest was created by Ginny Weeber of Bend and her granddaughter Kyah Weeber of Philomath, in partnership with Oregon Coast Quests and the Mt. Union Cemetery Association. (Photo by Cait Goodwin)

PHILOMATH, Ore. – A new self-guided, clue-driven walking tour near Philomath explores the history of a 157-year-old cemetery founded on land donated by a former slave.

The walk, which is part of Oregon Sea Grant’s Quests program, takes place on the 6.7-acre Mt. Union Cemetery where about 2,500 people are buried on a gently sloping hillside. The cemetery was created on May 11, 1861 – one month after the American Civil War started.

Reuben Shipley, who earned his freedom by driving his owner’s oxen from Missouri to Oregon in 1853, donated two acres of his farm to establish the cemetery on the condition that black people could be buried there. Shipley, his wife and six children were the only black family in Benton County at the time, according to the cemetery’s website.

Cait Goodwin, an educator with Oregon Sea Grant and the coordinator of its Quests program, said those who complete the walk will become more familiar with the site’s history and the story of Shipley and others who are buried there.

Cait Goodwin, an educator with Oregon Sea Grant, teaches people how to create self-guided, clue-directed walking tours – called Quests – that encourage participants to discover the natural, cultural or historical treasures of a place.

Cait Goodwin (in black jacket), an educator with Oregon Sea Grant, teaches people how to create self-guided, clue-directed walking tours – called Quests – that encourage participants to discover the natural, cultural or historical treasures of a place. (Photo by Vanessa Cholewczynski)

Goodwin also explained that Quests are self-guided learning adventures that use clues and hints to encourage participants to discover the natural, cultural and historical treasures of a place. At the end of each tour, participants find a hidden box containing a logbook to sign and a stamp to mark their accomplishment. Quests are suitable, she said, for individuals, families and groups of all ages who wish to explore parks, trails and other outdoor spaces at their own pace.

“Going on the Mt. Union Cemetery Quest provides an opportunity to explore the early contributions of persons of color in our community,” said Ann Bateman, a member of the cemetery’s board of trustees. “People who’ve taken the Quest say they want to go back and explore some more.”

The Quest can be found at It was created by Ginny Weeber of Redmond and her granddaughter Kyah Weeber of Philomath, in partnership with Oregon Sea Grant and the Mt. Union Cemetery Association. It is the third cemetery Quest in the program, joining one in Lincoln City and another in Newport. Participants will traverse grassy and gravel surfaces and need about 30 minutes to complete the walk.

The Mt. Union Cemetery Quest is slated to appear in the next edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s Oregon Coast Quests Book. To learn more about Quests and where to obtain the books, visit

The cemetery is at 2987 Mt. Union Ave. just outside the eastern city limit of Philomath. It is open during daylight hours.

Now available: The 2015-16 Oregon Coast Quests Book

The 2015-16 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s popular Oregon Coasts Quests Book is now available for sale. This 216-page, spiral-bound book features:Quests-book-cover

Directions for 24 Quests
Updates to existing Quests
Two brand-new Quests
Ten Quests created by youth
Quests in four Oregon counties (Lincoln, Coos, Curry, and Benton)
One Quest with directions in both English and Spanish

The book retails for $10 and is being sold by booksellers around the state. To find out where you can buy a copy, visit the booksellers page on the Quests website: If you happen to be or know of a bookseller interested in selling Quest books, please contact for ordering information.

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Oregon Coast Quests now has a Facebook page, where you can get updates, “like” the page, and share your Questing adventures with friends and neighbors:

Happy Questing!

Salmon Mashup: Rare Celilo Falls Film & Radio Chronicle

Celilo Falls fishery, early 1950s

Celilo Falls fishery, early 1950s

Twenty-five years ago, in 1990, salmon populations from a variety of locations in the Pacific Northwest were being considered for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. “Listing” of salmon was going to have serious implications for the region, and Joe Cone, then the science reporter for Oregon Sea Grant, developed a series of 14 radio feature stories to help listeners understand the issues and hear from the newsmakers and scientists involved.

The programs were broadcast on public radio stations in Oregon. Collected on an audio cassette at the time, these programs, recorded between November 1990 and August 1991, have been out of circulation for years. Since Northwest populations of salmon are still listed, receive protections, and have been the focus of attention for many people, Sea Grant Communications has been reviewing the recent history. In 2014 we published Salmon Abundance and Diversity in Oregon: Are We Making Progress? — a report and accompanying video, featuring OSU Prof. Court Smith. Now Cone’s 1990-91 broadcasts have been digitized, and some are online.
Mashed up with this historic audio is rare color-film footage of the great Indian fishery at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River. That silent film footage is courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District. The combined audio and video is available on the Oregon Sea Grant Vimeo channel. The program is also available on YouTube.
The four radio stories are 1) How the Salmon ESA decision was made, with Merritt Tuttle of NMFS; 2) An interview with Bill Bakke of Oregon Trout, an ESA petitioner; 3) Trying to help migrating salmon at Bonneville Dam, with OSU biologist Alec Maule; and 4) an Indian view of the salmon crisis, with Ted Strong of CRITFC. The announcer presenting the intros to each feature is Janine Kobel. Transcripts of the radio programs are available on request from Oregon Sea Grant Communications.

Master Naturalist blogs about coast, nature and the environment

Wetland, by Jane WilsonJane Wilson is a licensed K-8 teacher, an outdoor enthusiast, and a graduate of Oregon State University’s Oregon Master Naturalist certification program who blogs her thoughts and photographs – about coastal Oregon and the North Coast in particular.

In the introduction to her blog, Wilson writes:

“My commitment to learning how to better observe, interpret, and share information about the natural sciences associated with dynamic earth is heart-felt. Inspiration comes from eagerness to nurture a sense of wonder about the natural world. I’d like to be an advocate who supports others in defining their own connections with nature, understanding why those connections are important, and … in the process, becoming nature literate.”

Check out her observations, adventures and photographs about nature and our place in it at Just Another Nature Enthusiast.

Learn more:

  • OSU’s Oregon Master Naturalist program, a collaborative training program presented by OSU Extension with funding from Oregon Sea Grant Extension, Forestry & Natural Resources Extension and Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Extension, and by participants’ enrollment fees.

Oregon Sea Grant wins APEX 2013 Award of Excellence

2013_winnerOregon Sea Grant has been awarded the APEX 2013 Award of Excellence in the “One-of-a-Kind Education & Training Publications” category for its work on The Oregon Coast Quests Book, 2013-14.

APEX 2013, the 25th Annual Awards for Publication Excellence, is an international competition that recognizes outstanding publications from newsletters and magazines to annual reports, brochures, and websites.

According to the APEX 2013 judges, “The awards were based on excellence in graphic design, quality of editorial content, and the success of the entry in conveying the message and achieving overall communications effectiveness.” This year’s competition was “exceptionally intense,” drawing 2,400 entries in 12 major categories.

E-13-001 Quests book 2013-14 250Quests are fun and educational clue-directed hunts that encourage exploration of natural areas. In this self-guided activity, Questers follow a map and find a series of clues to reach a hidden box. This edition of the Oregon Coast Quests Book contains 26 Quests in three counties (Lincoln, Coos, and Benton), including six brand-new Quests and one in both English and Spanish.

The Oregon Coast Quests program is coordinated by Oregon Sea Grant Marine Educator Cait Goodwin, who also oversaw production of the book. Oregon Sea Grant Managing Editor Rick Cooper performed the editing and layout.

You can order copies of The Oregon Coast Quests Book here.

Oregon floods: fish should fare better than people

Calapooia River flooding near Albany, Jan. 20, 2012Heavy rain and melting snowpack that flooded Western Oregon last week turned creeks and rivers into broad, brown torrents that might look like bad news for fish. But an Oregon Sea Grant fisheries specialist says his research suggests the opposite.

Guillermo Giannico, a research professor in Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, has conducted studies showing that fish – especially native species – can find refuge and food in flooded grass-seed fields.

Giannico’s research grew out of a project by fellow OSU researcher Stan Gregory to map the historic path of the Willamette River. The Willamette and its many tributaries once were more complex, braided streams. Multiple channels dispersed the impact of flooding, but dams, housing developments and forest transition have since funneled many rivers into single channels that run fast and furious during floods.

Giannico and others wondered how fish adapted to the change. Floods have happened for thousands of years, he said, and fish traditionally escaped high water in the main river stems by moving to off-channel habitat.

Turns out they still do. During seasonal floods, researchers took a look at ditches, low-lying farmland and other spots that are above water most of the year. To their surprise, they found 14 fish species — 11 of them native.

“That’s high diversity for this area, more than I would have bet we were going to get,” Giannico said.

Giannico noted a couple implications from the findings. Salmon, steelhead and other native fish, he said, are keenly tuned to changes in light and water temperature, and move to sheltering habitat — even if it turns out to be a flooded grass seed field. Invasive fish, often warm-water species, don’t get it. They’re unable to respond to the clues. As a result, native fish get a temporary break from predation and competition for food.

“Floods have always been a dynamic part of the system, much the same way that snow is for elk in Yellowstone,” said Giannico  “Over time, animals will adapt to get the most out of their habitat. We have found that native fish have adjusted their behavior to use these floodplains, mostly in agricultural lands, to great benefit.”

Read more:

Oregon Coast Quests featured in Oregon Coast Today

Oregon Sea Grant’s popular “Oregon Coast Quests” are the subject of an article in the October 28, 2011, edition of the weekly newspaper Oregon Coast Today.

Sea Grant-funded historian’s book on fisheries management published

Carmel Finley, an instructor in the OSU History Department, is receiving positive attention for her new book published by University of Chicago Press, All the Fish in the Sea – Maximum Sustainable Yield and the Failure of Fisheries Management. One reviewer commented that the book “explodes the myths around MSY” (maximum sustainable yield) — a significant consideration since MSY is at the heart of modern American fisheries management. Another reviewer noted that “fisheries science and management are ripe for study by professional historians” and praised Finley’s book.

Locally, public radio station KLCC interviewed her, which was a role reversal for Finley, who was the Oregonian’s coastal correspondent for  years prior to graduate school and her doctorate at UC San Diego (where she received support from Sea Grant). Back in Oregon, OSG supported her to develop the Pacific Fishery History Project web site. She also contributed an article in OSG’s new salmon book, Pathways to Resilience, on “The Social Construction of Fishing, 1949.”

New video showcases Cummins Creek Wilderness

Cummins Creek on the central Oregon coast is perhaps easy to miss. Where it enters into the ocean about three miles south of Yachats, it’s just a modest stream. But those who know it consider it a hidden gem, as Congress recognized in 1984 by protecting the forest that surrounds the creek in order to “preserve in a wilderness state the last remaining virgin stands of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and Douglas fir in Oregon’s coastal lands.”

This short video highlights not only the beauty of the place but the role of the Sitka spruce forests in both Oregon history and environmental understanding.

Read more

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